Calvary

BANJO TUNING: f#CGAD
boggARTIST:  Dock Boggs 1968
DATE: circa 1894
ALSO KNOWN AS: “There’s a Hill Lone and Grey,” “On A Hill Lone and Grey”

from BALLAD INDEX: “Calvary” is a religious ballad collected from Dock Boggs in 1968 about Jesus’ crucifixion told from the point of view of one of his grieving followers. The original hymn, “There’s a Hill Lone and Grey,” by Robert R. Car­ra­dine (words)and John B. Bry­ant (music) appeared in Tears and Triumphs For Revival in 1894. It was also in the repertoire of The Carter Family who titled it “On A Hill Lone and Grey” and recorded it for Victor in 1932 (unissued) and again for Bluebird in 1934.

This should not be confused with the Sacred Harp hymn of the same name. Based on Paul’s description, it would appear that this song generally follows the passion account of John rather than the other three gospels — e.g. Jesus carries his own cross (John 19:17; compare Mark 15:21, etc., where Simon of Cyrene carries the cross) and makes no complaint (compare John 19:25-30 to, e.g., Mark 15:34)[END QUOTE]

CALVARY:

There’s a hill, lone and gray, in the land far away
In the country beyond the blue sea

Where beneath that fresh sky, went the man, forth to die
For the world, and for you and for me

REFRAIN: Oh, it’s bow down, my heart, and the teardrops will start
When in memory of the gray hill, I see
For it was there on that site, Jesus suffered and died
To redeem a poor sinner like me

Behold, faint on the road, ‘neath the world’s heavy load
Comes a thorn-crowned man on the way
With a cross he is bowed, but still on through the crowd
He’s ascending that hill, lone and gray

Hark, I hear the dull blow of the hammer swung low
They are nailing my Lord to the tree

And the cross, they up-raise, while the multitude gaze
On the best Lamb of dark Calvary

REFRAIN: Oh, it’s bow down, my heart, and the teardrops will start
When in memory of the gray hill, I see
For it was there on that site, Jesus suffered and died
To redeem a poor sinner like me

How they mocked him in death, to his last laboring breath
While his friends sadly wept over the way
But though lonely and faint, still no word of complaint
Fell from him on the hill of Calv’ry

Then the darkness came down, and the rocks went around
And a cry pierced the sad, leaden air
‘Twas the voice of our King, who received death’s dark sting
All to save us from endless despair

Let the sun hide His face, let the earth reel a space
Over men who their Saviour have slain
But behold, from the sod, comes a blessed Lamb of God
Who was slain, but has risen again

REFRAIN: Oh, it’s bow down, my heart, and the teardrops will start
When in memory of the gray hill, I see
For it was there on that site, Jesus suffered and died
To redeem a poor sinner like me

300

CALVARY(SACRED HARP):
Tune: Daniel Read, 1785
Words: Isaac Watts, 1707
Meter: Common Meter (8,6,8,6)

My thoughts, that often mount the skies,
Go, search the world beneath,
Where nature all in ruin lies,
And owns, her sovereign — Death!

 

May your heart be blessed by the music,

jm